Another wild year has come and gone, reminding us that nothing stays the way we might want it to. Even after we think we’ve learned the lesson of impermanence, some foundation we’ve relied on shifts or changes. Again and again, we are presented with the opportunity to fight, accept, or lean into the change.
We encounter these opportunities both as individuals and as a community.
Traditionally, being together in-person has been a fundamental aspect of our practice – allowing us to experience the Dharma through engaged interaction and collective stillness. We may have expected by now to have returned to the “normal” rhythm of temple activity. Instead, we continue to balance between in-person and virtual activity, looking to maintain the safest way to practice together. That balance requires additional volunteers, planning and equipment.
The space we think of as AZC is also changing. It may be easy and comforting to think of the center as a fixed physical presence just waiting for us to return and enjoy. Instead we have been reminded many times just how much the temple and facilities age over time. Honoring our intention to keep a safe and peaceful space to practice has taken a large portion of our annual budget in the last two years. Based on the list known of projects, we expect that to continue next year.
Our sangha is evolving. We have new members who have never experienced the joy of meditating together in the zendo, chanting together, or bowing together. Long-standing sangha members and leaders have moved or passed. Residents have come and gone.
Our leadership and program structures also continue to change. In 2022, we expect to re-establish a Director position to oversee the administrative aspects of AZC. Even so, we will also need to re-align our program of offerings so that each offering can be effectively supported by staff and volunteers.
Through all this change, there is something reassuringly consistent. As a sangha, we continue our commitment to encourage each other in our practice. Online or in-person, we show up. We examine ourselves and each moment, reminding each other to be open to what arises and that our awareness is a shared awareness.
To keep this going, we need your support. Your membership commitment and contributions are more than incidental – they are critical for making sure we have physical and virtual spaces to come together and teachers available to guide our practice.
If you have not already made a membership commitment, please take this time to consider what AZC means to you and how you can help it continue. Your contribution makes all the difference and extends in every direction. It may also help to know that the CARES Act has expanded the deduction limits for charitable donations in 2021.
For each of you who have already made a membership commitment, participated in special-purpose fundraising, or given your time and talent, thank you for making it possible for your AZC sangha and center to thrive in the face of change.
With deepest gratitude,
AZC board of directors, staff, & practice leadership
Please consider making your tax-deductible donation on our website or by sending a check to:
Austin Zen Center
3014 Washington Square
Austin, TX 78705
AZC’s tax ID# is 3-20019-4222-9. For those that choose to make an additional gift beyond your membership pledge, your generosity is deeply appreciated!
At this moment of reconnection, we are reminded of how rare, and incredibly fortunate, it is to be living in a city where there is a temple for our practice. Our gratitude for the opportunity to meet the dharma in this lifetime can be expressed in our commitment to support the temple through our practice of giving.